How much water should we be drinking during a heatwave?

How much water should we be drinking during a heatwave?

Throughout the last week, areas of the United States have had higher temperatures than normal for the start of the summer season.

With the temperatures rising on a yearly basis, it’s important to take care of our bodies more than ever by wearing sunscreen and drinking enough water to avoid dehydration. Normally, the National Health Service (NHS) recommends drinking between six and eight glasses of water per day, but that number may fluctuate during the summer and cases of extreme heat.

But the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) per day for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) per day for women.

“In hot weather and especially if we are exercising, our water requirements will go up,” general practitioner Dr Angela Rai previously told The Independent. “We need to drink up to around three liters a day on a hot day, however, it is important to space this out throughout the day and not to drink excessive amounts all at once.”

Various heat-related illnesses can occur if not enough water is consumed throughout the day including: heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat cramps.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number one piece of advice is to not wait until you are thirsty to drink water, because by that point, you are already low on fluids.

Feeling thirsty and passing dark-colored, strong-smelling urine are some of the initial signs that you could be dehydrated. Other symptoms include feeling sluggish, feeling light headed, or having a dry mouth.

While it’s important to know whether you’re drinking enough water, the Mayo Clinic suggests it’s likely that nothing is wrong with someone’s water intake if they rarely feel thirsty and their urine is clear, or a light yellow color.

When out in the heat on a regular basis, the organization recommends drinking eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes and anywhere between 24 and 32 ounces per hour.

However, there is the possibility of becoming over-hydrated if you drink more than 48 ounces of water per hour, which can lead to the salt concentration in your blood becoming too low.

Another rule to follow is the more a person sweats, the more water they need to drink. In general, nothing will beat plain water but the hydration benefits are the same for sparkling water as well.

The drinks to avoid for hydration are energy drinks due to their high caffeine content and sometimes large amounts of sugar. Alcohol is also not recommended because it can cause dehydration.

If you want to remain hydrated but struggle with drinking water, some of your daily fluid intake can come from eating fruits and vegetables that have a high water content such as cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, watermelon, zucchini, strawberries, lettuce, peaches, and yogurt.

Once you are no longer actively outside in the heat, it doesn’t mean you can stop hydrating. The CDC notes that it can take several hours to drink enough water to fully replace what your body may have sweat out so it is recommended to keep drinking throughout the day to continue to lessen the possible effects of dehydration.